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How to Grow Plum Trees From Seed

By Lily Obeck ; Updated September 21, 2017

There is something different about growing a tree from seed instead of transplanting a seedling. You are growing from the bottom up and what’s more, you will have delicious fruit for years to come. You can obtain a seed from the pit from a plum picked off of an existing tree, but this is not recommended as you cannot be sure which variety of tree you will grow or whether it needs a partner for pollination. It is best to purchase a self-fertilizing variety of seed from your local garden center or online. These seeds will bear fruit on their own without needing to plant a second tree for pollination.

Preparing the Seed

Obtain the desired variety of plum seed from a local supplier or garden center. You can also order your seed offline or from a specialty shop.

Drop the pit into a bucket of water and wait for it to sink or float. If it floats, the seed is not viable and should be discarded. If the pit sinks, the seed is viable and will be able to grow.

Dry the seed and place it in a plastic, zip-lock bag along with compost or peat moss. Place the bag in the refrigerator and keep the bag's temperature at about 40 degrees Fahrenheit for 6 to 8 weeks.

Check the seed often. The cold will pull the seed from its dormancy, causing it to germinate and sprout. As soon as the seed cracks and sprouts, take it outside to be planted.

Planting the Seed

Prepare the soil for the seed by combining two parts original soil with one part compost. Try to time your preparation one week before the seed is ready to be planted. If the seed has not sprouted by the fifth week, begin preparing the soil.

Plant the sprouting seed four inches deep and give the sprout time to make its way to the top.

Protect your seed from squirrels and other pests that may try to dig up the pit. Lay hardware cloth over the area to keep intruders away until the sprout emerges from the soil.

Transplant your tree to a permanent location if needed after one year. The best time to transplant is in spring.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Plastic bag
  • Bucket of water
  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Hardware cloth

Tip

  • To avoid placing pits in your refrigerator, plant dormant pits after the first frost in fall, but only if temperatures will reach below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.The cold and moisture of the ground will work the same way as putting your pit in a plastic bag with compost.

About the Author

 

Lily Obeck is a copywriter based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. She writes for print, online, outdoor and broadcast marketing, with expertise in health, education and lifestyle topics. Obeck holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of North Texas and works as a part-time children's library assistant.